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Azerbaijan: Bloqosfer 2010

By Aygun Janmammadova

Finally it happened. Bloqosfer 2010, an event bloggers in Azerbaijan had been looking forward  to for about two months, was held on 10-12 September in the resort town of Nabran. Over 100 established bloggers took their place beside emerging ones, new media specialists and Internet experts, business stakeholders, and representatives from civil society as well as the authorities.

The event was sponsored by international donors such as the Soros Foundation, the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan, and Counterpart International among others. Following the Barcamp format it aimed to discuss the current state of the blogosphere in Azerbaijan as well as formulate new strategies on making it more productive and widely known.

Preparations for Bloqosfer 2010 started months before, with social networking sites such as Facebook especially publicizing the event. Promotional videos for the event were also filmed in advance and were shared by many Facebook users.

But, as this was Bloqosfer 2010, many bloggers also reflected on the event, especially after it was over. Ahmadzada.tk blog [AZ], for example, says that the event went well overall and was a turning point in the Azerbaijani blogosphere even though some presentations were not perfect.

Forumu baş tutmuş hesab etmək olar, çünki, çox maraqlı və yeni bir hadisə idi. Hətta, özünün qüsurları ilə də. Şəxsən, mənim foruma uyğun görmədiyim qeyri-peşəkar və müştəbeh insanlar yer alsalar da, ümumi götürəndə, forumun əhəmiyyəti böyükdür. Və yeni medianın inkişafı istiqamətində aparılan texnoloji mahiyyətli müzakirələrdən də görüldü ki, İlqar Mirzənin rəhbərlik etdiyi , özlüyündə mühüm perspektivlər daşıyır.

One can conclude that forum took place and that it was an interesting and new event despite its weak points. Personally I think there were also some irrelevant and arrogant people participating, but in general the forum was of a significant importance. It was obvious from technology-related discussions in the sphere of new media development that “Bloqosfer-2010,” led by Ilgar Mirza, will have a significant impact on the future.

Nevertheless, some bloggers participating at the event were unhappy that the issue of the two imprisoned prominent video blogging youth activists, Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli, detained and eventually imprisoned last year on charges of hooliganism, was not raised during the event. Action Meinhof [AZ] touched upon this issue by arguing that blogs are not necessarily written only about political matters, but can also be for commercial purposes.

Və sonda bir məsələyə aydınlıq gətirmək istərdim ki, bloq yalnız siyasi mövzularda yazılmır. Əgər bununla razılaşmayan varsa, bir zəhmət çəksin, “google”a müraciət etsin, bloqların növləri və onların tematikaları barəsində məlumat əldə etsin, bundan sonra fikir mübadiləsi aparsın. Evdar qadının belə bloqu ola bilər, orada yemek resseptləri yazaraq geniş bir auditoriya əldə edə bilər.

[…]

[…] İndi bəzi şəxslər dirəniblər ki, nə üçün Emin Milli və Adnan Hacızadənin adı orada heç çəkilməyib və ya buna imkan yaradılmayıb. Nəzərinizə çatdıraq ki, bu mövzu artıq uzun zamandır müzakirə olunur və əminliklə deyə bilərəm ki, Bloqosfer 2010 layihəsindən qat-qat güclü tərəflər – qurumlar və təşkilatlar bu məsələnin önə çıxmasına çalışırlar və hələ də davam edirlər. Bəs nəticə? Yoxdur nəticə! Olmamasına səbəb isə məhz köhnə stereotiplərə ilişib qalan bir insanlığa məxsus xalqımız olmasıdır. Orada müzakirə olunmalı olan “necə edək ki, gələcəkdə digər bloqerlərimiz də azad sözə görə həbsxanaya düşməsinlər” olmalı idi, daha “Emin və Adnan niyə həbsdədirlər” yox.

Also, I would like to clarify that blogs do not necessarily touch upon only political issues. If anyone disagrees with this statement let them “google” it to get information about the types and themes of blogs, and only after then can they brainstorm and argue. A housewife can also have a blog, sharing food recipes and attracting a cult following.

[…]

[…] And now, some people fret about why Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade were not mentioned during the discussions or why there were no opportunities for it. Let me tell you that this issue has been long discussed and I can confidently say that parties, far more powerful than Bloqosfer 2010 - institutions and organizations, try to bring up this issue and still continue to do so. And what is the result? No result! The reason for this is that there is our people still stick to old stereotypes. The issue that should have been discussed there should have been what can we do so that other bloggers do not get arrested for freedom of speech rather than why are Emin and Adnan still in jail.

In its post, “What did Bloqosfer 2010 give to Azerbaijan,” Жизнь как Метро [AZ] came up with some suggestions, concluding that the event was very innovative, achieved its goals, and perhaps even more than that by representing a new beginning.

İkincisi, Bloqosfer 2010 dağınıq halda olan Azərbaycan bloqçuluğunu birləşdirə bildi. […]

Üçüncüsü, Bloqosfer kifayət qədər özünə qapanmış formada fəaliyyət göstərən və barmaqla sayılacaq qədər olan region bloqçularına mərkəzə doğru açılmaq imkanı verdi.

Dördüncüsü, Bloqosfer – 2010 Azərbaycanda bloqqerlik fobiyasını az da olsa qırmış oldu. […]

Beşincisi, Bloqosfer bloqqerliyi siyasilikdən çıxarıb sosiallaşdırdı.

Second, Bloqosfer 2010 could unite a blogosphere that was in a scattered state in Azerbaijan. […]

Third, Bloqosfer gave an opportunity for regional bloggers functioning underground and in scarce numbers to come into the spotlight.

Fourth, Bloqosfer 2010 could break the blogging phobia in Azerbaijan, even if only insignificantly. […]

Fifth, Bloqosfer took blogging out of politics and made it a social thing.

Presentations made at Bloqosfer 2010 will be uploaded to slideshare and its official website. Videos filmed during the event will also be available on Youtube. Twitter updates about the event can be found at #bloqosfer10.

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